Flying off the shelves
1 October 2020
As we head for autumn and further Covid
restrictions, Michael Bedford of Bedfords assesses
the state of the property market.
So many people are asking us about the property
market at the moment. To provide some perspective, we often answer the question
with a question. We ask, “Do you remember back in March, how loo rolls became
difficult to find as they were flying off supermarket shelves?”
“It would be hard to forget,” most people reply.
So we say, “That’s what’s happened to property:
houses are flying off our books.”
While the country was in lockdown, no one could envision
what would happen to the property market next – including us. We couldn’t
predict the strength of public demand for changes in surroundings and
lifestyle. We couldn’t know how people would react to isolation, sudden changes
in working practices and the resulting opportunity to commute less often but
therefore further – providing the chance to buy a larger suburban or rural
house and garden.
Now, after several months of the most
extraordinary market most of us can remember, we have experienced the combined
effects of the Covid and Brexit bounces, the relaxation of stamp duty and
Many first and second-time buyers and sellers
won’t remember the days when the market was on fire like this; when there were
multiple offers on houses for sale, prices were spiralling upwards, and
property was selling almost as soon as it came on to the market.
But we remember those days. We remember them very
well. That is why we are highly experienced and skilled in dealing with this
unexpectedly buoyant market.
For those thinking of buying before the end of the
stamp duty reprieve, we recommend doing so now. Why? Because neither we nor
anyone else, including the Chancellor, knows what’s going to happen next.
Another national lockdown – if there were to be one – might only temporarily
suppress this strong market and drive even more people to want to move. But big
questions remain about the market in 2021.
High unemployment, a negative Brexit trade deal,
tighter mortgage criteria and the end of the stamp duty relaxation, could turn
off the tap that was so dramatically turned on in July.